Rescue, and Real Love: Same-sex Desire in International Development

Gosine, A.
Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
Publication date: 
Monday, 2 March, 2015

This publication examines the rise of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) rights within development and asks how the terms of debate have shifted so much that the industry’s most powerful multilateral institution and champion of neoliberal capitalism, the World Bank, is advocating protection rights for sexual minorities. The author focuses upon the growth in interest and financial resources towards the rescue of non-heterosexual people from homophobia in Global South countries and the problematic rise in homonationalism. More encouragingly, he also explores how communities within developing country contexts have challenged rigid heteronormative conceptions of love, desire and affection.

  • The most critical demand one can make of development actors engaged in pursuit of sexual rights at this juncture is for more complexity.
  • All sexual desires are complex, unwieldy, messy and shifting. 
  • While the arrival of homosexual/queer/LGBT subjects in international development has offered up more categories of sexual identity, it has not begun to grapple with the messiness of desire itself.